Has anyone else noticed the influx of new 70.3 events? The planning committee has clearly been busy, very busy in locating new venues and scheduling new events. Recently added - Rhode Island, Boise, New Orleans.
Wait, New Orleans? Something about this just doesn’t feel right. Like Ironman 70.3 Vegas. You cannot mix serious racing with cities of sin. Cannot, should not. Something needs to be sacred. I’m all for a party bus that heads from a 70.3 to a city of sin. But to stage the race smack in the middle of sin? Not right. Let sin be!
Imagine the logistics of racing in New Orleans. The swim starts in a giant pool filled with booze. If you can emerge from it with two legs to stand and pass the breathalyzer test before entering transition, you can bike. Bike your way scared silly through the local cemetery making your way around looters and vagrants. Then, finish up the run topless down Bourbon Street. Person that crosses the line with the most plastic beads wins. As for hydration on the course, those little walk-up booze bars will be serving virgin daquiris (alcohol is too dehydrating for a hydration stop). Nutrition – muffalettas, gumbo, dirty rice.
As if that wasn’t enough, I just received word this morning about Ironman 70.3 Kansas. I knew it was early and I was still drinking coffee so just to be sure I clicked my heels twice, read it again and for sure it said….Kansas. The Wizard of Oz connections are impossible to resist. The race director would do himself a favor if he just embraced the munchkins, tinman, and Auntie Em right now. Envision this: staff the bike aid stations with the Lollipop Gang; spray paint the run course to make a yellow brick road; a witch jumps up and down at the top of a hill. Best Dorothy costume gets a prize. And fastest person to bike with their dog in a little basket wins. Their prize - they get to meet the Wizard. And in his curtained booth he will reward them with a speedo ankle pulling lock.
I am sorry - there is nothing inherently funny about Rhode Island so about that race I have nothing to say.
I’m wondering who selects new race locations. And if I could give them a hand. I have some ideas and I’m starting to think Illinois is getting the shaft. For Illlinois I am ready to represent. And I ask you this – where is Ironman 70.3 Kankakee. WHERE? But first - where is Kankakee? Oh, about 90 minutes south of Chicago. It’s the invisible line we draw from Chicagoland to everything south in the state. We’re not sure what happens south of Kankakee but we’re sure we’d like to stay down there.
If the thought of going that far south of civilization scares someone, then Ironman 70.3 Chicagoland could be planned. The swim obviously would take place in our gem of a lake. Hop on the lakefront path and squirrel your way through walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, guys riding $6,000 bikes with $3,000 wheels and head south. You bike through the south side but please don’t wear the colors blue, red, black or yellow, and be careful how you tip your helmet. If you survive, you get to run back along the lakefront weaving your way through dogwalkers, rollerbladers, stroller joggers, did I forget anyone? Oh, the guy on the rusty 30 year old clunker bike with the skater helmet wearing blue jeans that is determined to can your ass.
I’d like to see Ironman 70.3 Iowa. Psst….don’t tell anyone that Iowa has hills so all the drafters will show up to get their 2:10-something bike split and then run a 1:40 half marathon to get the win. But first on the bike they would find the Decorah Alps. Huzzah! After about 28 miles of the Alps they will find themselves alongside the road praying to the corn. At that moment a giant Corn Bear will emerge from the rows of stalks and eat them. Drafters always get their due.Or why not Ironman 70.3 Twin Cities? The Twin Cities has a huge multisport community and quality race venues. Regardless, my vote would be to stage the race in the Mall of America. Can you see it? You swim through the Underwater Adventures tanks. Instead of biking it’s 56 consecutive rides on Thor’s Hammer. If you can get off of the ride with enough electrolytes after repeated vomiting while hanging upside down, you run around the MOA carrying two handfuls of shopping bags over all 5 levels including the parking garage.
I believe my mother-in-law could win that one.
Ironman 70.3 Suburbs Style. This is a race I could win. Swim in a pool with filled with people walking backwards up and down the lanes with foam noodles, aquacisers, a man who can’t possibly breaststroke for 2000 yards…but he will. On to the bike course which is a series of stoplights down a busy suburban road built for farm equipment but hey let’s put about 100 housing developments in a 1-mile radius and expect two lanes will be just fine. Run your way through dark suburban neighborhoods being chased by unruly dogs. Then the first person to cook dinner, do two loads of laundry, read the mail, and walk the dog by 9 pm wins.
What about Ironman 70.3 From Behind A Desk? Drink 1.2 liters of coffee. Type 56 pages of data into your computer or reply to 56 e-mails or answer 56 complaint phone calls. Your choice. Run 13 copies, doublesided, stapled, collated in color booklet style without jamming the copier. Good luck.
I say let's take it up a notch. Let's create triathlons with a twist. Tough courses and wins that reward the tough - so tough that the drafters, course cutters and other rogues would get filtered out, so tough those at the top would be willing to run with sale-filled shopping bags or tackle someone to collect plastic beads. And really, aren’t those the people you want to see race? Wouldn’t that make an exciting race to watch?
I believe I have not only solved the problem of drafting but also the problem of how to turn triathlon into more of a spectator sport. What I can't believe is why they haven't put me on the race planning committee. But I'll be checking their website daily and figured my invitation is next up, just another announcement away.